Tuesday 31 May 2016

Flowers at home

My beautiful peonies are in bloom right now
Love these violas. 
My daughter wants peonies at her wedding at the end of July. But the peonies in my garden are out now. It is their season. Does anyone know whether or not peonies can be dried successfully - I'm thinking of decoration, not for bouquets. Also where is the best place to go for fresh peonies out of season?

Do you like the blue glass vase the peonies are in? I was lucky enough to find it on the bric a brac stand at Harting Village Day last year. Yesterday I had a stand at Harting but following a drama with the car - flat battery- I arrived two hours late. It was a good opportunity to promote the shop. I gave out countless business cards. The weather was not on our side with lowering skies threatening rain all day and cruel gusts of wind that kept blowing things off my stand and into the road. However it was good to meet people and to see old friends.

Upcycling - do you do it? Last night I saw something on the tv when a man split apart a wood chest of drawers and made it into floor to ceiling storage. I'm not sure about this. A bit Emperor's New Clothes. It's fashionable but that doesn't mean we've got to like it...

Friday 27 May 2016

New Bags

Large, soft, Liberty fabric bag £29.50
Smart linen bag, fully lined £10
Cotton lined bag by Carol Smith £19.50
Here are three new bags in Handmade Happiness. 

Now that we have to bring our own bags to shops I thought it would be a good idea to stock a range of attractive bags to avoid ugly plastic ones.
Carol Smith is making some clever fold away ones to take up minimal space in your handbag. I am continuing to make strong carrier bags from magazines and thank you to all of you who have brought in old magazines for me to use.

In two weeks time we will have a new shop neighbour. The dark purple paint has been replaced with fresh pale blue and a new interiors shop (painted furniture) is about to open.

I am making bunting (mostly for daughter's wedding) new style necklaces, lots of holding hands paper dolls (partly for an order) and I wish there were more hours in the day...

Happy weekend everybody!    

Friday 20 May 2016

Fairy Friday

Large fairy by Jenny Stacy £15
Fairy by Jenny Stacy £9.50
Large fairy by Jenny Stacy in the window £15
Fairy by Jenny Stacy £9.50
 Today I made fairies in the shop and finished off 6, 4 more to finish off tomorrow. In the afternoon I made new style necklaces. Experimenting, having fun and building up stock. Hope you enjoyed your day too. Have a great weekend!

Roxana Giles

Bird painting on a large tile by Roxana Giles
Parrot by Roxana Giles
Dream-like ship by Roxana Giles
Hand-painted tiles by Roxana Giles
 Roxana Giles was trained to paint on china in the factories of Minton and Worcester. She then taught her art to countless others. She showed me a picture of a commemorative plate she'd painted of Nelson and a battle scene of modern day soldiers and airplanes.

 Roxana is a versatile and extremely talented artist. I feel privileged to be now selling her work in Handmade Happiness.

Wednesday 18 May 2016

Loving one another...

Collage card by Jenny Stacy
My mother, who died earlier this year, always said I was lucky with my friends.
Recently I have really appreciated friends. 

2016 has been a tough year so far. Not just for me, talking to other local shop keepers, it feels as if the recession is still with us. People would rather not be spending money they don't absolutely have to spend. So they buy food but they are not buying gifts, at least they are not buying gifts to anything like the extent they have bought gifts in previous years.

Friends dropping in to the shop keep me company and it's lovely to see them.
Two friends have told me they are growing flowers in their garden and allotment for my daughter's wedding. How kind and thoughtful is that? Laughing and chatting with people we get on well with is one of life's greatest pleasures.

Handmade Happiness offers an enormous range of handmade gifts (many priced at under £5) and a large selection of cards priced from just £1.95. If the shop was positioned on the High Street I really think that everyone would buy all their cards here. Nearly all cards and gifts are exclusive to Handmade Happiness and they are selected for quality as well which makes them even more special. 

I know that it's an effort to walk round to Dragon Street which is on the other side of town to Waitrose where many people park, do their food shopping and go straight home. But it's worth the walk. And you can stock up on lovely cards and gifts when you visit.

This week we are seeing what was neighbouring Wild Damson being painted pale blue and evolving into what apparently will be a painted furniture and interiors shop. I'm hoping that once the new shop opens in two weeks time an awful lot of people will be tempted to shop in Dragon Street with three interesting shops in a row to browse in.

Wednesday 11 May 2016

Opening hours

 More medals by Jenny Stacy 9.50 each

This week I decided to change Handmade Happiness's opening hours. From now until November the shop will no longer be open on Tuesdays. 

So it will be open from 10am to 5pm on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Since the shop opened I have experimented with various opening hours. At the beginning I only closed on Sundays but then I realised that Mondays were consistently the quietest day in the week so I decided to close on Sundays and Mondays.

 And now comparing takings for each day I am open, Tuesday seems v. much the quietest day and it will be nice to have another day on which to see the grandbabies or to tend the garden or (yawn)to catch up on the housework! 

Saturday 7 May 2016

New in Handmade Happiness!

Justine Jenner's jugs £39; mugs £16 and £18 on made in Hampshire table £40
Welcome back to the ballerina bunnies made by Sue Inglis! £7.95 each
It's party time for Sue Inglis' mice! £7.95 each
Cotton bunting £22.50 by Brenda Tilbury and lovely ceramics just in by Samantha Robertson.
New stickers showing felt, buttons and beads made by me and strawberries from my garden.
 Today the deliveries kept coming. I am pleased with these stickers from my photos made by www.moo.com. I see them sealing tissue paper packages for customers. I get my business cards from moo but this is the first time I've tried out their stickers.

Local potters Samantha Robertson and Justine Jenner have both brought in more, lovely work. Nice to use and nice to give as gifts.

A while ago I stocked bunny ballerinas by Sue Inglis and now she's making them again. I love them. The perfect gift for the little dancer in your life.Also her mice are ready to celebrate in their new party hats!

I like the fresh, clean look of this bunting which Brenda Tilbury brought in today. As you may know Brenda makes wreaths and cards as well.

The shop is looking full of stock. Do come in and introduce yourself!

Monday 2 May 2016

May blossom

This tree near where I live is a riot of flowers right now. A wonderful reminder that spring is here and we have the whole of summer in front of us. 
It's been a good day for gardening and I've also sorted out some cotton fabrics to be made into bags for the shop. 

Regular readers will know that I write everything down in my 'design notebooks' and I've got dozens of them going  back to 1998 complete with sketches and photos and torn pictures from magazines. I looked at a couple of them today and was reminded that most ideas don't actually see the light of day. They seem like a flashbulb moment when you have the idea but then another idea supersedes them and the first idea is forgotten. 

For example I wrote about dried flower petals on pale pink tissue wrapping a gift with cellophane over the top. That would be pretty. Or at Christmas you could do the same with chopped up silver tinsel and sequins on white tissue all trapped under cellophane. I was reminded of how many cards I used to sell and one of my inspirations was the artist Klimt. I think I'll revisit Klimt inspired design now and maybe translate the gift wrapping idea into some sort of card too. But I mustn't blabber on. You might want to be outside, appreciating spring.

Sunday 1 May 2016

Kaleidoscopes by Frank Higgins

An assortment of kaleidoscopes in Handmade Happiness made by Frank Higgins
Different kaleidoscopes made by Frank Higgins on display in Handmade Happiness
When I was a child I looked through a cardboard cylinder and saw plastic shapes changing patterns as I turned the end. The first time I saw Frank Higgins, infinitely superior kaleidoscopes made with glass and mirrors I was transported into a magical world and couldn't stop saying,'Wow' at what I was looking at.

Anyone who comes into Handmade Happiness can look through the kaleidoscopes. I love it when people are genuinely awe-struck by them, especially if it's a teenager and they've never seen anything like it before in their life.

They are cleverly made. Frank Higgins is a retired scientist and (I'm guessing) a perfectionist. He uses coloured glass, including those tiny millefiori glass flowers you see in paperweights. He paints some of the glass himself giving it a marbled look. The kaleidoscopes make very special presents or sometimes customers are so enraptured by one that they just have to buy it for themselves there and then.